Environmentally-minded rookie gets elected in Coconut Creek

Fort Lauderdale attorney will serve as commissioner for next 2 years

Joshua David Rydell stands next to his wife Jamie Valentino Rydell and daughter Rachel.
Joshua David Rydell stands next to his wife Jamie Valentino Rydell and daughter Rachel. (COURTESY OF JOSHUA RYDELL)

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale attorney Joshua David Rydell was ready to go against Waste Management Inc. after his victory Tuesday night.

For the last few years, Coconut Creek residents have been unhappy with Waste Management Inc.'s  Monarch Hill landfill, 2700 Wiles Rd., east of Florida's Turnpike and south of the Sawgrass Expressway.

Some residents fear the existing landfill's smell could get worst, if Waste Management Inc. gets its way. During a public hearing on the matter in February, the Nova Southeastern University law school grad said that "the greatest threat to this planet is believing someone else will save it."

It looks like the environmentally-minded voters listened. It was the 33-year-old's first political rodeo, and he won with 77 percent of the votes against 46-year-old sales engineer Steven Thomas Harrison.

After four intense months of campaigning, the newly elected Coconut Creek commissioner thanked his supporters at La Via Restaurant, 4443 Lyons Rd.

Rydell may owe his victory to a recent Sun Sentinel Editorial Board endorsement that urged voters to choose him, because at a time when Broward County wants to expand the landfill -- also known as Mount Trashmore -- his emphasis on environmental responsibility was important.

ON THE WEB: Read The Sun-Sentinel's opinion that helped Rydell win

"Rydell would join other city leaders in urging Broward County commissioners to reject a plan that would rewrite county garbage disposal contracts to close the Monarch Hill incinerators," the editors said.

Other endorsements included The Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, the Metro Broward Professional Firefighters, The Broward County Police Benevolent Association, Rep. Kristen Jacobs, Coconut Creek Mayor Becky Tooley, and Coconut Creek Commissioners Lou Sarbone, Mikkie Belvedere and Sandy Welch.

Rydell will serve as commissioner for the next two years, as he completes Commissioner Lisa Aronson's four-year term. Aronson resigned to run for a Broward County commission seat, but failed.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Connect with Rydell on Linkedin

Rydell is Nova Southeastern University law school grad, who has been working in cases ranging from criminal defense and personal injury since 2008.

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